Historical information

The Weasel is the smallest carnivorous mammal in the world. They commonly reside in central and western Europe and in the Mediterranean region. They can also be found in North Africa, Asia and North America. This species was also later introduced to New Zealand. The Weasel prefers to live in locations which include grasslands, sand dunes, lowland forests, upland moors and towns which have a suitable food source. Collective nouns for a group of Weasels include a "sneak", a "boogie", a "gang" or a "confusion".

This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum and the National Museum of Victoria, as well as individuals such amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.


This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.

This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.

Physical description

A light coloured weasel standing on a wooden platform. Two identification tags are tied to one of the specimen's back legs. The animal has a long and slim body with a small and triangular shaped head. The teeth are visible from close-up and the eyes have been replaced by dark coloured glass. The snout is pointed and the weasel has long whiskers. The ears are small and rounded.

Inscriptions & markings


?. Weasel sp. /
Catalogue, page, 48 /